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I'm new to Adobe Illustrator and I wanted to accomplish this task. How do I remove the inner lines in my drawings? I tried with all the pathfinders effect but it keeps removing my tangent lines (the lines connecting both my circles).

cicles tangent

It works like a charm as I followed the selected's answer guide:

Here it is.


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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Pathfinder won't find anything with just lines -- it only works with the area that a path is enclosing. You'll want to connect your tangent lines and make them into a solid shape, a rectangle in this case.

Use the white arrow tool to select the right-end anchors of both lines (click on the first, shift-click on the second) and then Object > Path > Join (or Ctrl/Opt + J). Do so again for the two right-end anchors to end up with a rectangle-like shape.

Select this shape and both circles and choose the first Pathfinder option 'Unite'.

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perfect! Thanks for the very good answer –  Nicholas TJ Mar 12 '13 at 11:52

There's a script for that, which has the added advantage of giving you perfect connecting tangent lines.

It's called Metaball by the awesome Sato Hiroyuki - you can download it as part of a big bundle of mostly useful Illustrator scripts from his page here.

It turns a selection of circles into singular blobs by following tangent lines. Here's an example from that page - you can also input a value for the curve, and if you input 100, it gives perfectly straight lines like in your example.

enter image description here

Because it creates closed path shapes, you can select the paths it creates along with the circles, use Unite (the first of the Pathfinder window options), and it just works perfectly.

enter image description here

If you're working with tangents, also check out Common Tangents and Tangents From A Point from the same script bundle. Here's two examples from that site:

enter image description here

enter image description here

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wow, i'm impressed. –  Nicholas TJ Mar 13 '13 at 20:12

I am crazy late in answering this, but this might be of use to somebody anyway.

I make three shapes, two circles and one adjusted square. Note the delightful colours, just to make it clear what shapes I have made:

enter image description here

Select all with the selction tool, then click the shape builder:

enter image description here

Start in the outer half of one of the circles and "pull" over to the other end:

enter image description here


enter image description here

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nice color used in the example :) –  Nicholas TJ Apr 28 '14 at 17:47
Hehehe - thanks. It took of course hours to get them right :) –  Benteh Apr 28 '14 at 18:50

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